UConn hits the ground running
As a point of reference, UConn had at last 14 fast-break points in three of the last five games last season and 19 times during the 2015-16 season. In Sunday's game against LSU UConn failed to have a fast-break point. The Huskies made up for lost time with 15 of the 98 points against Dayton coming on the fast break.
"We wanted to make it a goal to get out in transition because we really haven't been running the ball
the way we used to and I think we did that well and it was encouraging," UConn junior forward Gabby Williams said. "We wanted to play at a quicker pace and I hope we can execute a little better. That is way we like to play, we want to make it a track meet for everyone and it was good that we finally got to do that."
It helped that UConn outrebounded Dayton 51-34 and also had eight steals so it was easier to get out into the open court.
"Each game is different, each team tries to do something completely different defensively," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Dayton puts a lot of pressure on you with their dribble, they put a lot of people going to the basket so when they miss, thjere's not a lot of people back on defense sometimes. What ended up happening is we were able to get out in transition, rebounded the ball a little better, got out in transition a little better and got some easy buckets which we didn't get at LSU or Baylor."
Katie Lou Samuelson posted a career-high 28 points against LSU and she topped that with 29 against Dayton. If she hadn't missed three foul shots, she would have had her first 30-point game as a Husky. While most of her offense came on 3-pointers on Sunday, she had a more well-rounded offensive game with eight 3-point attempts, nine shots from inside the 3-point line and eight foul shots.
Napheesa Collier actually hit UConn's first 3-pointer and finished with 22 points and seven rebounds while Williams ended up with 19 points (tying her career high), 11 rebounds and five assists (a career high). After getting into foul trouble in each of the first three games, she didn't commit a foul. A key was Williams stopping on her drives before she collided with a defensive player and that led to many of her assists with passes into the post.
"I was just trying to avoid getting some offensive (foul) calls I have been the last few games, Williams said. "I have been slowing myself down trying to see the whole floor."
Dangerfield finished with nine assists. Ironically her only turnover was probably on her easiest pass of the night as Williams was alone under the basket on the fast break but by the time she delivered the pass, it was a little high and bounced out of bounds.
Dangerfield could have joined Pam Webber as the only UConn freshmen with 10 assists in a game had she connected on that pass. Still, she had some rather impressive assists in the game.
"You are born with that stuff," Auriemma said. "We used to talk all the time that you can tell a kid to look inside and they have no idea what they are looking at. She sees everything and the key is throwing the right pass at the right time and she does that and that is not from coaching, that is from an innate ability that she has, nine assists today and that particular sequence (in the third quarter) was probably her showcasing all the little things that she can to help your team. She only made one bucket today and she dominated the game for long stretches at a time."
About Dangerfield's lone turnover ...
"You are not going to get everything," Auriemma said. "After the (Baylor) game everybody was ready to annoint her the next Chris Paul and against LSU she looked like Les Paul. God bless him, he is no longer with us but he is a great guitar player."
After the game Auriemma confirmed that UConn would be playing in the 2018 Paradise Jam, the first time the Huskies will appear in the event in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2012.